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Archived: Ending Prayer at Public Meetings

“An opening prayer is part of the nations fabric,” according to a 30 year old U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Supreme Court Justices heard arguments Wednesday in a lawsuit involving mostly Christian prayers that are said during Town Board meetings in the town of Greece in upstate New York.

The lawsuit was brought by two of the city’s residents, an atheist woman and a Jewish woman, who said the practice of reciting Christian based prayers at the public meeting violated their 1st Amendment right to religious freedom.

They said they feel that non-Christians are being forced into participating in prayers that emphasize Christian beliefs, at the expense of other beliefs, at city meetings and other functions.

While we recognize that it is difficult to come up with a prayer that satisfies all religious beliefs, we feel that it is important to recognize the historical foundation and role of prayer in our history, government and public functions.

It should also be noted that the doors are not locked at these meetings, and no one is being physically forced to stay where the prayer is being said, or to pray. There is no penalty or threat to those who refuse to pray — which is what we would call being forced to conform.

That being said, we do not understand why some people allow themselves to become obsessed by the dislike of public prayer.

At a time when civility seems to be taking a back seat to rudely shouting down those that don’t agree with us, a moment of public prayer hardly seems to be a slap at anyone.

But we also do not agree with those who use public prayer as a bully pulpit in the public discourse.

So, lets make a deal—we won’t “force” anyone to pray in public as long as others aren’t bullied into not praying.